The Lord is gracious and righteous. Yes, our God is merciful. Psalm 116:5

1 Samuel 24-25

1 Samuel 24

David Spares Saul

1 When Saul had returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the wilderness of En Gedi.” 2 Then Saul took 3,000 chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 He came to the sheep pens along the way where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were staying in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 David’s men said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will deliver your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly.

5 Afterward, David’s heart troubled him, because he had cut off Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.” 7 So David checked his men with these words and did not allow them to rise against Saul. Saul rose up out of the cave and went on his way.

8 David also arose afterward and went out of the cave and cried after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!”
When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and showed respect.

9 David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to men’s words, saying, ‘David seeks to harm you?’ 10 Today your eyes have seen how the Lord had delivered you today into my hand in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you, and I said, I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed. 11 Look, my father, and see the edge of your robe in my hand. I cut off the edge of your robe and didn’t kill you, so see and know that there is neither evil nor disobedience in my hand, and I have not sinned against you, though you hunt me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between me and you, and may the Lord avenge me of you, but my hand will not be on you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘From the wicked comes wickedness,’ but my hand will not be on you. 14 Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you and see and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”

David’s Oath to Saul

16 It came to pass, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” Saul raised his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done good to me, whereas I have done evil to you. 18 You have declared today how you have dealt well with me, because when the Lord had delivered me up into your hand, you didn’t kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away unharmed? Therefore may the Lord reward you well for that which you have done to me today. 20 Now I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 Swear now therefore to me by the Lord, that you will not cut off my offspring after me and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s family.”

22 David swore to Saul. Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

1 Samuel 25

The Death of Samuel

1 Samuel died and all Israel gathered together and mourned for him and buried him at his house at Ramah. Then David got up and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

David and Nabal

2 There was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel, and the man was very great. He had 3,000 sheep and a thousand goats, and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. This woman was intelligent and had a beautiful face, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings. He was of the house of Caleb.

4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 David sent ten young men, and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. 6 Tell him, ‘Long life to you! Peace be to you! Peace be to your house! Peace be to all that you have! 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds have now been with us, and we didn’t harm them. Nothing was missing from them all the time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let the young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand, to your servants, and to your son David.’ ”

9 When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal all those words in the name of David, and waited.

10 Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants who break away from their masters these days. 11 Shall I then take my bread, my water, and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men who I don’t know where they come from?”

12 So David’s young men turned on their way and went back and came and told him all these words.

13 David said to his men, “Every man put on his sword!”

Every man put on his sword. David also put on his sword. About 400 men followed David, and 200 stayed by the baggage.

14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he insulted them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not harmed, and we didn’t miss anything, as long as we went with them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore know this and consider what you will do, for disaster is coming against our master and against all his house, for he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.”

Abigail Intercedes for Nabal

18 Then Abigail hurried and took 200 loaves of bread, two containers of wine, five prepared sheep, a bushel of parched grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. 19 She said to her young men, “Go on before me. I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband, Nabal. 20 As she rode on her donkey and came down by the covert of the mountain, David and his men came down toward her and she met them.

21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have kept all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him. He has returned to me evil for good. 22 The Lord do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if I leave of all that belongs to him by the morning light so much as one man.”

23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got off her donkey, and fell before David on her face, and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me, my lord, on me be the blame! Please let your servant speak in your ears. Hear the words of your servant. 25 Please don’t let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him, but I, your servant, didn’t see my lord’s young men, whom you sent. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from the guilt of bloodshed, and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now therefore let your enemies, and those who seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. 27 Now this present which your servant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly give my lord an enduring lineage, because my lord fights the Lord’s battles. Evil will not be found in you all your days. 29 Though men may rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, yet the life of my lord will be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God. He will sling out the souls of your enemies, as from the hollow of a sling. 30 It will come to pass, when the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31 that this shall be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. When the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”

32 David said to Abigail, “Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you today to meet me! 33 Blessed is your discretion, and blessed are you, who have kept me today from the guilt of bloodshed, and from avenging myself with my own hand. 34 For indeed, as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has withheld me from harming you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely there wouldn’t have been left to Nabal by the morning light so much as one male.”

35 So David received from her hand that which she had brought him. Then he said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. I have listened to your voice and have granted your request.”

36 Abigail came to Nabal, and he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. Nabal’s heart was merry, for he was very drunk. Therefore she told him nothing until the morning light. 37 In the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal, so that he died.

David Marries Abigail

39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed is the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from evil. The Lord has returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head.” David sent and spoke concerning Abigail, to take her to himself as wife. 40 When David’s servants had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, “David has sent us to you, to take you to him as wife.”

41 She arose and bowed with her face to the earth and said, “Your servant is a but a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 Abigail hurried and arose and rode on a donkey, with five of her ladies who followed her, and she went after the messengers of David and became his wife.

43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives.

44 Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.

John 10:22-42

The Unbelief of the Jews

22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. 23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.

24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. 26  But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. 27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28  I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29  My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30  I and the Father are one.”

31 Therefore Jews picked up rocks again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?”

33 The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ 35  If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36  do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’ 37  If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me. 38  But if I do them, though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

39 They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand.

Many across the Jordan Believe

40 He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was baptizing at first, and he stayed there. 41 Many came to him. They said, “John indeed did no sign, but everything that John said about this man is true.” 42 Many believed in him there.

Psalm 116

He Listens to My Voice

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice
and my cries for mercy.
2 Because he has turned his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The cords of death surrounded me,
the pains of death got a hold of me.
I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord,
“Lord, I beg you, deliver me.”

5 The Lord is gracious and righteous.
Yes, our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserves the simple.
I was brought low, and he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
and my feet from falling.

9 I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
10 I believed, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
11 When I said in my haste,
“All people are liars.”

12 What will I give to the Lord for all his goodness toward me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord,
yes, in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his saints.
16 Lord, truly I am your servant.
I am your servant, the son of your servant girl.
You have freed me from my chains.
17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord,
yes, in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of house of the Lord,
in the midst of you, Jerusalem.

Hallelujah!

Proverbs 15:20-21

20 A wise son makes a father glad,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
21 Folly is joy to one who is void of wisdom,
but a man of understanding keeps his way straight.

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